UN peacekeepers leave two camps in tense northern Mali

AFP , Monday 16 Oct 2023

The UN stabilization mission in Mali said it began Monday to withdraw from two camps in the Kidal region of the north, where armed actors have been vying for control.

Peacekeepers from the Nigerien contingent of MINUSMA patrol the M naka region of Mali.


"In a climate of high tension, (the mission) has begun the process of withdrawing from its camps in the Kidal region, starting with Tessalit and Aguelhok," the mission, known as MINUSMA, said in a statement.

It adding that the pullout from a third camp, at Kidal itself, could be accelerated if necessary.

Mali's ruling junta, which seized power in 2020, had in June demanded that the mission, which had been deployed since 2013, depart the country despite being in the grip of jihadism and a deep multidimensional crisis.

That followed months of deteriorating relations.

MINUSMA's departure from the camps has exacerbated rivalries between armed actors present in the north.

Predominantly Tuareg separatist groups have resumed hostilities against the state, while the Al-Qaeda-linked Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM) has increased attacks against military positions.

Since August, MINUSMA has transferred four camps to the Malian authorities.

But the evacuation of the camps in the Kidal region, and especially that of Kidal, a bastion town of the separatists, promises to be the riskiest.

Short link: